God is Not Finished
It all started in 1977 when Pat and I were married, and we started our own screen-printed T-shirt company. I could sell and Pat could do accounting, so off we went, founded on the scripture Matt 6:33, “Seek first his Kingdom” and trusting God for the results.
Being immersed in church volunteer things, we didn’t want to spend too much time on the business. God took care of us, granting financial security and after the first 5 years we had to ask ourselves, “Why do we want to make more money?” The answer seemed to be “So that we can give more.” Someone would always have a bigger house or better car for sure and we just felt we wanted our legacy to be more than spending the money we made.
In our church volunteer work, we became Missions Chairpersons. It was wonderful to interact with missionaries, the first being Cedric and Sharlini Rodrigo in Sri Lanka. We loved supporting international work and forging relationships with great people doing God’s work. We moved beyond regular financial support and began helping with things like transportation, housing, and education needs.
We soon discovered that our dearest missionary friends struggled with the education their children were receiving. We didn’t want their kids to be negatively impacted while they served the mission. These stories led us to start our own 501C3 to give grants for their education. Seventy kids in twelve countries were served in this way, preparing them for their future through education.
Having our own business was a family blessing to steward. Our son and daughter grew into their own connection with the company. When he was just a 10th grader our son gave us his bold plan: “Dad, I’m going to get my MBA, then Beth and I will run the company and you and Mom can just travel and write checks to missionaries. We will keep the checkbook full.” What a great plan, right?
Well, our great plans are not always God’s plans for us. The night before John’s senior year of college he was called and asked to take home a friend who was drunk and needed a driver for him to safely make it home. On the way home he was hit by two other drunk youth and John who never touched alcohol in his life was killed when he was hit head on. We were devastated.
However, our family found God in His sovereignty was so very faithful to us. With the memorial/insurance money God allowed us to fund a community center in the Czech Republic dedicated in his honor that is run by Global Partners. Even today they are taking in Ukraine refuges to stay at the center. John would love it.
John also had his eye on a house next to our business that he wanted to buy to save money by walking to work. One day as we were checking our business security, a “for sale” sign was put up for that house. We looked at each other and said, “We have to buy that house!” Why? Well to tell the truth we weren’t actually sure but felt very strongly God wanted to use it for His glory.
The next day we purchased the home. Soon after praying, while about it, we decided to make it a mission home for our friends who came home on sabbatical. We named it the “Elisha House” and it became available to missionaries from all over the world. They are able to stay at no charge with free internet and a beautiful fully furnished home so they might be renewed and refreshed before returning to the field.
Starting our own company has been one of the greatest joys we have found where God has used us in the marketplace in a way that has global reach starting from a very local work. We have been able to hire over 20 Bosnians which many are still working with us and some who have gone on to college to receive professional jobs.
Within the last five years we have had the amazing joy of doing a succession plan with our son-in-law and daughter who now run Image Pointe. We still come to work every day, but we don’t do all the daily work. It’s quite nice.
Since we are a screen print company and a union shop in January 2022, we started our own USA-made garment factory, Dignity Apparel. We now employ over 30 Burmese immigrants. By the end of 2022 we should have over 100 Burmese on our payroll. Many have very little schooling, and do not speak English, yet they are thriving. It seems God wanted us to not only give from our work in business; He wanted our faith and our work!
For our family it will always be a daily prayer of ours that as long as God is not finished with us yet, we will daily seek all He has for us and wants to do in us.